Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day 29--A little less sad

A little less sad*
(or, the young male songwriters all have higher voices than you’d think and seemingly darker lives than I could manage)

But still a moan, a whine
you’ve learned to do in time
and so it’s tune, a line
strung over water, a fine
high string of voices, mine
included, honest, mine
if I’m honest, I find
hidden in yours, mined
from the psalms. Behind
Absalom, the dawn, skylines,
branches, bones, refined
and sad, though less as you remind
us then, with hands aligned
on keys or strings, your spines.

*Steve Slagg introducing a song.

The singers here in mind: Slagg, Byram, Comstock, RiCharde and, if I’d been able to stick around, Barringer and Ketch.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Day 28--Pantoum and Variation on What Wondrous Love

What wondrous love is this, O my soul,
to cause the Lord of bliss to bear
a verse and cast away, to cause, a sole
cascade of syllables to mean. I fear

to cause the Lord of bliss to bare
the sacred harp we carry in our breast,
casacade of syllables too mean. I fear
la la so mi so la so mi la la so rest.

The sacred harp we carry in our breast
beats a particular meter, simple tune:
la la so mi so la so mi la la so rest.
and I am sinking down, sinking soon.

Beat a particular meter, simple tune
where millions join the theme,
and I am sinking. Down. Sinking soon.
And still I sing a round and ride a stream

while millions join the theme:
and when from death I’m free
and still, I sing around and ride a stream,
beyond my bliss, my need.

And when from death I’m free,
what wounded love is this. O, my sole
beyond, my bliss, my need,
averse and cast away, my cause, my soul.

Enjoy several versions of this tune:

1) An authentic Sacred Harp Sing

2) An NPR feature on Anonymous 4 that includes their rendition of this hymn.

3) Wheaton College Men's Glee Club

4) A 1960 archived folk recording of Almeda Riddle in Miller, Arkansas.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Day 27--After David Hooker

After David Hooker

I am trying right now--
this very syntax, these terms--
to make a cup

a stranger might put in his mouth
the way I have put cups,
have put art to my lips,

and the glazed lip of art on my tongue
for mornings, for years.
If this endeavor sounds strange,

imagine the shock when I damaged
my back moving around my studio
a few hundred tons of language like new clay.

Consider the loss when I broke to pieces
and reclaimed the dust of twenty-three old psalms
with still water and refashioned them

as a letter to my congressman, a bulletin announcement
for church, and a song I sing my son at night.
And the pain--you must know this--I endured

when in my own inattention to the natural
signs of my materials, the vessel cracked
of its own accord and I burned

my hands with liquids so hot that I swore,
in the name of art, never to try this again.

This is a number of months in the making, after I took students to David Hooker's ceramics studio last fall and they wrote poems in response to his work and his commentary about making art. In class, we called these poems, affectionately, our Hooker poems. For this we are truly ashamed. I urge you also to read David's blog and check out samples of his work.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Day 26--Flailing Away

Thrashing on Troeger Farm, 1886--Revision/Burning Away the Chaff

Thomas Hart Benton could have covered a post office wall
with you all, made your lives an allegory of horses v. steam.

I will make no parables , nor will I feed the thousands.

The bread I eat comes to me whole. The crusts I break
by hand and dip into cool, pasteurized milk.

I buy loaves as large and distant as your relative heads.

Thrashing on Troeger Farm, 1886
On the post office wall, you appear to have stopped for a mural.

Thomas Hart Benton would have colored you,
my brothers, my sisters, your horses in sepia and autumn.

He would have coursed his allegories and training
all across the regions of your faces and your fields.

The small, tough world of your love turns up for the thrashing
you give to one another and to the earth in 1886.

A few beasts walk the circle and grain separates
away the straw that breaks as it should;

you know from memory how to burn the chaff,
and how to grind and bake grains to sustain

a body of work I have never been in. Belief
for me comes easy, without gnarled limbs or crooked and curved spines.

I have made no parables, nor have I fed the thousands.

Most of my bread comes to me in perfection. The crusts I break
by hand and dip into cool, pasteurized milk.

I buy it in loaves as large and distant as your relative heads.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Day 25-prose poem 2 yrs in the making

Sitting in the Grass Near a Library, on My 40th Birthday

The air fills with blossoms and bees. I would like, now, to be Monet, to see these blossoms twenty more times in twenty different lights. I would like to be O’Keefe, to see one blossom and its red center as my red center. I hear the bees and would love to be Charles Ives, of course Bach, or even Paganini. The bee on this page knows I bear, nor will I bear, no blossoms. I have not played my scales, nor have I sketched a few thousand flowers in a book. The creature alights. I do nothing of interest. No blossom. No paint. No tune in my hand. No light. Painters, bumble bees alike have stained themselves yellow for love. I have loved them.

I would like, for a wish, to carry this scent home to you, love, who hovered above me this morning like a flower over the bee. That, though, is Georgia’s view, through her eye, not yours, not mine. I suspect my scent, at 40, is my own, as your scent is yours. It is only on occasion, this unheralded spring day, or on a page, or in the folds of our linens where such scents may be mingled, tangle one another as stamen and nectar and sting. I am no great maker of things, but I aspire, like a tune, to grace the humming, fragrant air.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day 24--Four Forms for Addressing the Tired Eye

1) First (person)
I am sick of seeing, tired of my eye, 
of its clouds and precisions.

So I sit on purpose in the dark on my back porch and listen
to a woman I have never met play a violin.

I have come outside to enter my skin, to be blessed
in my skin by the lightest wind of April.

If I opened my eyes, I could see the violinist in her apartment,
the light behind her ponytail, the sway in her hip, her music stand.

But I prefer tonight her sound, her repetitions of the same raw
passage, a run in a movement of Brahms or someone like him.

All day long I have looked at paintings, at women, at men,
at books, at plates full of food. All night long I have remembered,

put them together in ways that require fine stitches. I know this
sounds like a poem. I know how to make my tongue turn

a word around so many ways it feels like a thing. So I am grown
sick as well of my mouth. But my ear so full

of the student’s song, and the air filled as well with her practice,
and my arms in the breeze, and my ass on this chair

matter as if I were, myself, a word, as if I were, tonight,
a sight for sore eyes.

2) Second (person)
 If you opened your eyes, you could see me here in my apartment,
the light behind my head, the score on my music stand.

How does it sound, these repetitions of the same few measures?
Do you know the music of Edward Elgar, how it can feel,

at times, like Brahms, at times, like a world? All day long
I have practiced this passage in my mind.

All night long I have worked until it sounds, almost, like a poem.

Do you know how to make your ear turn a single pitch around
so many ways it feels like a word?

Are you in love with what I can do with my hands
on the bow and the strings?

My open window might seem an invitation. I am sorry.

What should I make of your heavy head tilted back in the dark?

From here, I have been watching you breathe while I practice.
From here what can be seen is clear enough. It could nearly be day.

3) First Persons (plural)
We have grown sick of seeing, tired of our eyes.

So we sit together in the dark on our porch and listen
to a woman practice a violin.

Could we have stayed inside in the light and still entered
our skin, alive like this in the lightest winds of April?

If we opened our eyes, we could see her apartment,
could see one another watching her in the dark.

We both say for a moment that we believe this music
is Brahms, a Concerto we heard once in Chicago.

We both know what we do with our days, how to take a body
or a term and turn it a few hundred ways

until it feels no longer like a thing. Are we in love
with all we do with our hands?

4) Imperative (didaction)
Go out in the dark and close your eyes for once.

Sit on purpose in the night on a back porch and listen
for someone you have never met, or imagine her

as she plays a violin. Enter your skin. Let it be blessed
by the lightest winds of April and her song.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Day 23: I swear I use no art at all

I labored for days over the mould, modeled 
on the sacred bust we keep by the copy machine.

I melted and poured. He congealed. And I waited
for my Shakespeare to cool.

In a leather chair near my office window,
I unpacked my heart with words

I suspected he would love. I tried to sing
an iambic birthday card for the bard,

to rhyme antic-disposition with something—
though manic-precision was off.

I am lost and unable to weep, am an ekphrastic
poem of my own sorrow.

I am soothing my inner Iago, Gertrude, Goneril,
am nothing more than a fishmonger

with a little plastic genius in my pocket.
The hole, though, I left in his head,

large enough to hold a candle, has healed
over. And we are singing at the film festival

on his birthday, watching Hamlet for hours
on a screen as vast as the globe.

Note: I'm grateful to KJ for the challenge to make an ekphrastic in response to his lovely birthday poster of the bard. Tomorrow, I will also post a blog entry on my evening at Ebertfest, where I really did see K. Branaugh's 4 hour Hamlet in 70mm glory.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day 22--One of Several Hymn Riffs

All Saints Sunday, 2 Nov. 2003

“Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer
who makes the wounded heart to sing.”

--Schönster Herr Jesu!

Every severed but still beating muscle,
each incised or punctured chamber—

We know these sorts of hearts,
the central, bursting metaphor

grown tender, corroded with age.
The dead have lived through an uneven

song, a vicious singing that tears
pulses from the signature of time,

from habits so far from pure.
Every heart we have is blemished

by the everyday beating we take
and give to ourselves. What other

kind of figure but the heart
would need to be made, to be wounded,

to ache its way through its own
hard, clotted hymn?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Day 21--Rejected Lyric for a New Setting of the 23rd Psalm

Selah, lah, lah, lah, lah, lah

The Lord is mine, shepherd and word,
divine, I shall not rot.

He bleedeth me inside and the leaden
waters besides which have fled.

I will shear no evil. You plod
and you laugh to comfort me.

You prepare a label to bore me
in the presence of mines, beloved empathy.

You surround me with harp and with lyre,
keep away the barbed liars

all my days, all the shadowed grays
of my slow, grazing life.

And I will chew on the grass,
alas, the Almighty's grass,

on the lawn of the Lord, or never. Again.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Day 20-Some Prayer

Some Prayer
(an iconoclast longs for several friends)

"The icon is a song of triumph, and a revelation, and an enduring monument to the victory of the saints and the disgrace of the demons." --John of Damascus, On Icons, 2, 2

Someone tonight believe
in a healing song
in the hands and their oils
on the flesh of our brother.

Some hand, tonight, burn
not as fire
not as flame
but as a fierce salve on the skin.

Summon out the venom
of the cells,
of the body in the world
that decays of our own weight.

Some God open, oh icon of yourself,
open, as a wound, take into yourself
my brother at his merest.

Summon him, or raise him,
or return him to us clean
as a new stone, as a verse in Revelation if you can.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fourth of Several Manifestos in the Voices of the Dead

Rembrandt Addresses the 1960s and 70s

You will move from black
and white to color,
from an etched world

to an urban landscape of vivid oils
that will scare and stun
everyone already

drawn in her best grays and blacks on paper,
line and outline of a leg,
her covered curves so clear.

Look back, I think, rather than ahead
to the glossy magazine and the Soup Cans,
and the neon Dutch Masters

on the billboard just outside the Queens Tunnel.
You will find your way into photographs
and acrylics, and will paint

so fiercely at times that your arms
will go numb. This will go ahead and happen.
So you’ll need your rest. Lie down.

I will come to you in a series of dreams and whisper
die meeste ende di naetuereelste beweechgelickheijt
and you will believe until you wake

that I really did see Christ being lifted from the ground,
heavy as a plastic sack of seed, fallen from a truck,

that I really did see his guards (like the men
in the grainy video of Vietnam, Munich,
Selma, El Salvador, the Moon)

confounded by the sudden appearance of flesh and color,
that I knew their desire to return to a world
of shades and shadow rather than this one,

its ridiculous deaths and resurrections everywhere,
colored in a television light so harsh I cannot begin
to find it in a human eye.

Day 18--The Third of Several Manifestos in the Voices of the Dead

J. M. W. Turner on the Qualities and Causes of Things

O voi ch'avete l'intelletti sani,
mirate la dottrina che s'asconde
sotto il velame de li versi strani.
Inferno, IX, 11. 61-63

No one living will love you as you need
to be loved, and I am talking about
the sturdiest minds.

Blow into the gallery with a daub
of red lead and trowel or skip
it like a shilling on the gray sea.

Say nothing. They will write or call
and want to know why paint palpitates,
feels less than the world of trees and seas.

I tell everyone that light is color
and the world is a veil of poems.

I remind them to rub their pictures
with a very soft silk handkerchief
to remove the blue chill of new varnish.

I tell Ruskin everyday how disappointed
I was to discover that the Sun
was not God, that my forte and my fault,

the indistinct, belonged
to God and not to me.

He tells me that the Dean of St. Paul’s refused
to bury me in Carthage, wrapped in a rotted canvas,
in my own shroud of lead and light.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Day 17--The Second of Several Manifestos in the Voices of the Dead

Braque on Progress and Mimesis

You are making a fact, pictorial fact
and no one cares how many times
the violin in fact has been played.

Do not imitate the thing. Make the thing.
From this, Christ made loaves
and enough fishes for thousands.

You must be more primitive, brother,
paint with only one brush
and smaller palette you crush
from the foods you have failed to eat.

Oh, I am falling in love with fish, and with birds.
See the black fish, the birds I have made,
the new surface I have improvised for the world.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Day 16--The First of Several Manifestos in the Voices of the Dead

Manifesto One: Van Gogh on the Possible and True*
Even here there is no blue
without yellow and orange,
and color must still do everything.

My bedroom (precisely as I have always seen it,
flat tints and a thick impasto, lilac doors, the green-citron
pillow and scarlet coverlet, the pale violet
walls and floors of red, the basin blue
which requires, as I’ve said, other colors)

Is heaven. I smoke my pipe in bed
for days on end and live
in paintings I never have to make.

And there is nothing in my mirror.

*A number of these lines are cribbed/adapted from Van Gogh's letters, as included and translated in Herschel B. Chipp's Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book. As far as I know, Van Gogh wrote no letters after his actual death.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Day 15--Rachel's Plastic Chalice

As good a temporary
home for blood as any
human vein or glazed
and fired potter’s art.
The facsimiles, replica
and curve of the grail,
matter little in the dark.

Faithful lips and head
thrown back to imbibe
the wholly impossible,
these form the open
road to the belly,
before belief can
make its way back
to the head, to the eye.
Praise this plastic,
its emptied hollow,
like a body, a head,
ready to be filled.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day 14: Ace


If it’s your grandfather
and you know he beat
a world champion bowler,

and you remember his voice,
and you own the chair where
he sat when he stretched out

Andy Varipapa’s name,
then you don’t care to hear
how square are his head

and his jaw, or how wide
the world opened before
his kind in 1948, the year

when he stood halfway
through his several scores,
maybe four score and ten

in Chicago, at the Neubling
Classic. He knew the heft
of what he held in his hand,

or had known. He was no Satan.
He wore that tie because he should
and, for him, it was no noose.

You can feel his backbone
in this chair where you write
and carry nothing very heavy

by hand. Your softer bones
will never fuse or form themselves
to his armchair’s old spine,

though your eye could be set
on a point to the left of the lens,
like his gaze at a woman, his wife,

or a trophy now lost, or making
nostalgia from the striking
game you believe you have seen,

when you remind yourself this:
He would go taut at ninety,
and you still believe every spin

he remembered, every single frame.

Notes: I have used this very photo a number of times as a prompt for a student writing exercise. Once, a student, having no idea the subject was my grandfather, Ace, wrote a line the likes of "You are Satan, and it is 1948." It was a brilliant poem. This, however, is not a brilliant poem. I made it a "you" poem on the general suggestion of Carl Dennis at a reading last fall in Wheaton. I don't know. Seems like a mighty sentimental draft to me so far.

Also, here's the trick bowler, himself, Andy Varipapa, whom my grandfather did beat in a competition. Also, two other people beat the pro that day, but we don't talk about that.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Day 13--Tim Coe, His Hat, and Touluse-Latrec

Tim Coe, His Hat, and Touluse-Latrec

He was no Renoir, no lover
of malleable light and its glimmer.

He loved the actual women, their skin
their stares, and the grimmer

pimps, and the bends of dancers
old enough to know better.

He was 20; you, my clever friend
have a 19th century hat and 20 years

of being no Toulouse-Lautrec.
So how have you tilted his frame

toward your hatted, rounded, believing
head where a band with no name

plays the greatest hits yet to be written?
And in your poem, the one behind

your bowler, you will love the green
woman, you will be the mostly kind

man on his elbow, with a wall
between himself and the painted

women for whom he longs. Turn away.
That man’s moustache has been tainted

with beer so bitter he tastes it in his sleep.
Go to the gift shop. Get a postcard you can keep.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Moulin de la Galette 1889, Oil on canvas
Art Institute of Chicago

Friday, April 11, 2008

Day 12--Poem on a Quilt Pattern

Confession: The Prairie Queen

I am in love with the Prairie Queen,
draping her over my torso at night.

I trace her every single stitch in the dark
and remember her color from the light.

I turn her in my eye and she becomes
in turn my eye, and my sleep

comes slow under her bosom.
Some patterns of sky I fold

and keep in a box: the tornado, the spring,
the wild geese in flight. I told

my wife we could not spread you here
on our bed any longer

as I am ashamed of my skin beneath your
cotton flesh. But she names, stronger

than either your woman’s art, or my simple lust,
a map of deep, unseen rivers, of a root we can trust.

Note: A bit of history & info on the Prairie Queen quilt pattern.

Another note: The actual quilt on our bed is a wedding ring pattern made by my wife's mother. I feel no guilt sleeping beneath it.

Ah, an essay for next fall's course

Debra Allbery's fine essay on ekphrasis at the Cortland Review. I like this little bit:

I've been interested particularly in this notion suggested by Stevens and Hollander—that our problems are the same; that we turn to painting not only for inspiration, but instruction.

That is true for me, both in writing about the visual and in writing about music.

Thanks to Therese L. Broderick for the excellent tip.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Day 11--Mulready's Secret Sonnet

The Sonnet, William Mulready (1786-1863) 1839 Great Britain, Oil on panel 35 x 30 cm

Mulready's Secret Sonnet

A moment in this landscape with your heart,
the brook, the grass, the scent, late flowered air,
could make a simple man of lesser art
than necessary pick up pen. Beware,
my flow’r in velvet red of autumn dress,
I’ll spy you as you read, and, if you bark,
the echo of your high-voiced silliness
will prove me as no Dante, no Petrarch,
and show no Beatrice or Laura pure
has joined me in the genre of rough land.
We came here on our own and, to be sure,
this sonnet I have offered to your hand
is scattered in its rhyme, but not its tone.
I’m glad we’re here alone, no chaperone.

note: I think I'd like to write an annotated set of interlinear responses to this hackneyed sonnet. that's a benefit, I guess, of cranking out even the most unfinished piece for now.

Day 10: 1970s Arena Rock Love

She had a voice
like Peter Frampton’s guitar,

And a voice like Peter’s guitar could fill
a boy's skinny chest with wah wah & blues.

So, Peter, holding her like your guitar
that night in the empty high school gym

I lifted her delicate neck
and whispered “Show me the way”

And sang to her about how hard
it is to love anyone

When no one applauds or lifts
a lighter to the sky.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Day 9: Blake Paints What Milton Can’t Show in a Play

Keep the naked bodies
off the stage
and you end up with epic

Or anti-epic. Blake believed
in the moon as a breast,
in the eye as a home of sin and wonder,

In the poem
and the print
as lovers of one another,

In the muscled, gentle lovers
and their blisses
and the nearness

Of exile as dual blessing.
Oh, I wish for more
than either Milton’s diction

Or Blake’s apocalypse can offer.
I wish for comedy and grace.
I wish either lover

Looked the other lover in the face.
Baby, when we bring our fallen
bodies to our bower,

I will ask you about your crocuses this spring.
Tell me they survived the epic
winter, even if they died.

Jottings from Milton on Adam Unparadised, the failed version of a play that eventually was recast as Paradise Lost. See Katharine Fletcher's notes on Milton and Performance.

Day 8: Meeting the Relatively Famous Songwriter/Pop Star at Lunch

He smiles like a beautiful
chord change you know
should’ve happened all along.

I tell him I’ve known his work
for years. I want to, but don’t,
say how many friends I’ve lost,

how they’ve utterly disappeared.
I also fail to mention, as he likely
forgets me, how, in the 80s, I was

pretty as well, how I played tunes
for women who also loved Jesus,
how he and I (and Jesus)

had the same beautiful hair.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Day 7-Call me Bonham

Or call it Moby Dick
though the book bore
nothing on the title,
or the sticks broken,
or whipped away
while the band walked
off stage as he beat bare
hands bloody, and, maybe
a little drunk, he rocked
one foot on the treadle.
To make a mighty hook
you play a mighty lick
leave a damning wake,
and a broken stick,
and a riff, or two, behind.

Here's a much shortened version of John Bonham's drum solo from Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick." Legend has it, he sometimes played for 30 mins or more.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Day 6--Two Suppers at Emmaus by Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Supper at Emmaus
c. 1600-01; Oil on canvas, 54 3/4 x 76 3/4 in; National Gallery, London

The worm in the apple gnaws the fruit away,
and the dressed fowl the men have devoured

by the time Caravaggio remembers the inn-keeper
and his creased wife, the finer linens

and the pitcher as detailed as the Gospel of Luke,
and the ridiculously large ears of Cleopas.

What fierce blaze gets fired and glazed
within the tender hearted as a stranger paints

the air with his midrash of pigment and time?
What light layers enough shadow over years?

I am inventing this last part; the rest you could have
read or been shown on your own:

Caravaggio once punched a drunk in the head
and saw Jesus as the man’s flesh dented

beneath his fist like a warm loaf. For five years,
the stranger arose again and again in Caravaggio’s eye.

Caravaggio, Supper at Emmaus 1606, Oil on canvas, 141 × 175 cm Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Friday, April 4, 2008

Day 5--Fairy Tale

You are singing Stardust
like you’re Ella Fitzgerald,

and I am singing Stardust
dead on as Willie Nelson.

Together we have filled
our bedroom with enough

dust to set off your asthma,
though I think you’re scatting

when you cough in that syncopated
way that sounds like the earliest

records of the tune, before anyone
had written a single lyric.

And when I twine Willie’s smooth
near whine around you,

my eyes closed, imagined bandana
tight around my forehead,

you nearly die from the reverie,
the memory of the time

you nearly died running home
from school, the Wahlberg boy

chasing you. And here is Hoagy Carmichael
trying to strangle you now

with a few changes and a pulverized star.
I finish in time to pry

his hands from your neck.
We catch your breath

together and close our mouths
to the lovely and deadly dust

so plentiful in the near-light of dusk,
not purple, but dark blue and so plain.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Day 4--Minor Resolution (or Stephen Isserlis Plays the Song of the Birds after the World Explodes)

Not only the small birds but the great, ungrounded
eagle, her slow curve from height, her slow curve
from depths again. I am not a believer in birds of war
but in this lark of the finger on string, in a g-minor wind become hymn.

Note: A lovely translation by Lydia Davis of the original song, along with commentary, from Poetry

Showing a Photograph to Raymond Carver of My Father in His 31st year

The grin and high cheeks, the tightened lips, poised
before an exclamation to my mother,
could break Raymond Carver’s taut heart.

His young father carried fish on a string
and bottles of beer in one hand. Little
Raymond had not yet been born.

But I am the serious bellied boy
at the wooden arm of your old lawn chair.
I am pictured and pleasant enough and small.

I desire to be the opened book,
the paper in your right hand’s steadied grip,
left hand relaxed from reading me.

I would like to show you Raymond Carver’s
poem and the 1934 Ford
he parked behind his Daddy.

I would like to show Ray the jig-sawed scar
on your outside right thigh and ask him why
he thinks it never healed.

Here's the classic Carver poem on which this is a riff.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Day 2-30 Ekphrastics in 30 Days

Moby Dick

I am halfway through
Moby Dick, the painting
by Pollock, and, again
I can’t finish the damned
thing—too large and too much
time he spends dissecting
every bit of blue. I mean
how many harpoons and turning
flukes does a world need?
I am stranded in the upper left hand
corner for like a week before
I begin to descend and when
I reach the roiling mess
of what seems to be fire
and mountains and men
and black fins, a pair of feet
or two, and Queequeg’s sacred
map of the back of the world,
I think, I am such a Starbuck.
I should have watched a movie,
or started the painting from the bottom,
where I knew it would end

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

30 Ekphrastics in 30 Days

It's National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), among other things. I will write an ekphrastic a day for the next 30 days.

April 90th

Scuttled in the wake of Pablo’s Gertrude,
awakened by the turn and term of head,
I head into the April air construed
by 90 airs of Bach strewn through my head.
Thrown hard against the arm chair’s broken arm,
she breaks her brow and plays an April Fool
and fools Picasso like a Harlequin,
and likens then herself to paint. His tools
of eye and self and paint and eye and self
she eyes herself, her velvet coat, her skirt.
He coats her in a gown of browns. She tells
me, Leo, grown and groan and sounds of hurt
sound palatable to a posing girl.
One palette, brother, tints and soils the world.